Talking points include:
- What is the immune system and why is it important?
- Infection and mitochondrial disease
- Immune function in mitochondrial disease
Throughout his career, Dr. McGuire has been focused on improving the care of patients with disorders of mitochondrial metabolism. By combining his training in Immunology and Biochemical Genetics, he has fashioned a translational research program to understand the interplay between mitochondrial metabolism and the immune system. As Head of the Metabolism, Infection and Immunity Section (MINIS) at NHGRI, Dr. McGuire and his team study the interplay between metabolism and the immune system in patients with inborn errors of mitochondrial metabolism. The group focuses on two aspects of immunometabolism:
Immune system activation and end-organ mitochondrial metabolism
The focus of the group’s research on immune system activation and end-organ metabolism is based on the clinical observation that infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with mitochondrial disease. The MINIS uses animal models, combined with infectious organisms, to yield insights into the metabolic perturbations seen in disorders of mitochondrial metabolism during infection and to identify potential targets for intervention.
Role of mitochondria in immune cell function
The group also studies mitochondrial metabolism and immune cell function. Immune cells drastically alter their metabolic programming during activation and differentiation. The deficiencies present in patients with mitochondrial disease may affect these processes. The group developed a clinical protocol in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center, called the NIH MINI Study: Metabolism, Infection and Immunity in Inborn Errors of Metabolism (NIH Clinical Trial NCT01780168). Immune phenotypes identified in patients are further explored via animal and cell culture model systems. By expanding the immune phenotype of patients with mitochondrial disease, these studies will have an impact on the clinical care of patients as well as serving as the foundation for understanding the role of mitochondria in immune function.